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Vuelta a España: Mountaintop Victory for Moncoutié

Vuelta-sm_medium David Moncoutié of Cofidis won Wednesday's stage of the Vuelta a España after a solo escape. The stage finished at the summit of the Estación de Montaña Manzaneda and perfectly suited the lanky French climbing specialist.

Moncoutié has an affinity for the Spanish mountains. He counts three previous stage victories at the Vuelta a España, and he has also won the mountains classification three times.

Beñat Intxausti of Movistar finished second at 1:18. Luis León Sánchez crossed the line third at same time. Behind them, Joaquím Rodríguez of Katusha made a dash for freedom from the main field in the closing kilometers, but only picked up a few seconds.

In the general classification battle, Bradley Wiggins took over the race lead from his team-mate Chris Froome, who led the race after a stellar showing in Monday's time trial. Wiggins entered the Vuelta as Team Sky's leader, and the team stayed with the plan, despite Froome's overnight lead. Froome went to the front and worked for Wiggins on the final climb, and Wiggins did enough work to take the Red Jersey.

Behind Wiggins, the contenders are bunched up tightly. Chris Froome is second at 7 seconds, Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale is third at :11, Fredrik Kessiakoff of Astana is fourth at :14, and Jakob Fuglsang of Leopard-Trek is fifth at :19. Here are the complete stage and general classification results.

Tomorrow, the Vuelta a España races from Ponteareas to Pontevedra. The stage runs over relatively flat roads. Flat by Spanish standards, at least. There are two categorized climbs on the menu, but they should not do too much to impede the sprinters. It should be a bunch sprint in Pontevedra on Thursday.

Vuelta a España General Classification: